Talking about what he callsone of the biggest medical scandals in American history'. (and not only American, unfortunately: the treatments you mention are also carried out in Italy) American feminist Lisa Michele,ventures a very strong comparison between hormone therapies for people with dysphoria (especially minors) and the surgical practice of lobotomy, a devastating treatment very much in vogue in the USA in the 1940s and 1960s. What you are going to read is a transcript of Michele's video, which you can watch here in the original language.
In the meantime, we bring you news of the birth of the Italian site Genito***ri (De) Genera animated by a group of parents with preadolescent and adolescent children with gender dysphoria or gender questioning. Finally, a point of reference for anyone who finds themselves in this situation and needs to confront themselves and break the isolation.
"We believe that there are many causes and situations that can lead to developing a discomfort about one's gender," they explain. "Likewise, we believe there are just as many paths out of this malaise. Teaming up to provide information on routes which guarantee respect for the delicate phase of growth and identity construction typical of the developmental age, putting the protection of the physical and mental health of children and young people first. We demand evidence-based and ideology-free approaches for our children.
Hi. My name is Lisa Michele. And this video will cover one of the biggest medical scandals in American history, the lobotomy. And we will see how is linked to the growing trend of so-called trans medicine. Is history repeating itself? Let's find out.
From the 1940s until around the 1960s 50,000 Americans were subjected to the brutal treatment known as lobotomy. At that time, lobotomy was seen as a breakthrough nhealth care. The inventor of the lobotomy, the Portuguese neurologist Agus Moniz, even won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for paving the way for the procedure. But what was once celebrated as a miracle cure turned out to be madness. Lobotomies were widespread malpracticeperpetrated on victims, often unable to consent, by doctors who had no research to support their methods. In the United States, the lobotomy movement was supported by the Dr. Walter Freeman, a megalomaniac neurologist who has personally performed over 5000 lobotomies. At one point he crossed the United States in a van nicknamed the Automobile, performing up to 25 lobotomies a day, sometimes killing several patients a day. We can look back at this practice and see it for the tragedy it was. Reflecting on the past should mean turning our gaze to the present and identifying repeating patterns.
We can see many similarities with a practice going on today, gender medicalisation in children and in adults. Here I will focus mainly on children, but most of these treatments also apply to adults. Today a record number of children are being medicalised for a psychological condition called gender dysphoria. In some cases, gender dysphoria should more accurately be named body dysmorphia and extreme dissatisfaction with their bodies, which is related to disorders such as anorexia nervosa. Sometimes that body dysmorphia is only a amplified version of what all adolescents go through during puberty by feeling discomfort in their changing bodies. In other cases gender dysphoria represents the metaphysical belief in a spirit or soul of gender which does not correspond to the individual sex. And that's where you hear people calling themselves born in the wrong body. And in other cases, gender dysphoria has a lot to do with the child's preference for toys, clothes, hairstyles, etc. stereotypically associated with the other sex. Rather than abeating those stereotypes and say it's okay for a boy to wear dresses and play with dolls, and it's okay for a girl to want to play with trucks and have short hair, doctors pathologise these so-called non-compliant children gender, which only reinforces those regressive and harmful stereotypes.
We will now discuss TEN areas in which lobotomy and hormonalisation show strikingly similar patterns.
1. A PSEUDOSCIENTIFIC FANTASY
A lobotomy involves the insertion of a sharp metal object called a orbitoclast in the frontal part of the brain, through a small hole drilled in the skull or through the tear duct in the case of so-called transorbital puncture lobotomies. After the instrument has been inserted, the surgeon rotates it blindly, permanently severing the delicate nerve connections. and indiscriminately destroying brain tissue. It is a imprecise and barbaric procedureand is based on a pseudoscientific fantasy, invented by a few men who postulated that the brains of the mentally ill were not formed properly. They designed the procedure to intentionally destroy brain tissue to prevent certain areas of the brain from communicating with each other. For a rational person this makes no sense. The brain is intricate and complex and today we know it. The way our psychology and physiology interact is very mysterious. Was it really just a fantasy to blindly believe something so imprecise, namely that cutting the brain would improve mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and depression.
When we read the literature on so-called sex hormone therapy we see a similar lack of logic and a complete denial of basic physiology. For example, let us take a look at the Mayo Clinic articles on feminising and masculinising hormone therapy. Both articles contain this illogic. Ideally, treatment begins before the development of secondary sexual characteristics so that adolescents can go through puberty in the gender with which they identify. But reality is very different from this fantasy. In reality, no one can change or choose which sexual puberty to go through. Females, unless they are sick, go through female puberty. And the same applies to males.
2. INTENTIONAL DAMAGE
With feminising hormone therapy, male children and adults are given unnaturally high levels of synthetic oestrogens in combination with drugs such as spironolactone, which reduce their natural testosterone. Before treatment, these males have bodies with healthy hormone levels for their sex. The prescribing doctor thus intentionally induces a state of illness in their bodies. Low levels of testosterone and high levels of oestrogen are signs of disease in a male, as well as the resulting physical changes, including decreased facial hair, development of breast tissue, redistribution of fat, testicular atrophy, muscle atrophy and low libido. Male hormone therapy is when women are given unnaturally high levels of testosterone. Again, these females start out with a body with healthy hormone levels for their sex and quickly reach a state of illness with symptoms such as lowering of the voice, growth of facial and body hair, redistribution of body fat, loss of menstruation and vaginal atrophy. These are all signs of disease in a woman, but these signs of disease in males and females are actually the intended results because both the patient and the practitioner are operating on the basis of the fantasy that a person can literally become the other sex.fantasy reinforced by terms such as MTF and FTM .
So, when a woman grows a beard and loses her period, the fantasy is that he is literally becoming a boy because those were normal and healthy in a male who doesn't get his period and grows a beard. The problem is that he is not a male and never will be no matter how much he may want to be. It is still a female body and those are symptoms of disease in a woman and nothing can change this reality. In lobotomy, patients are born with normal white and grey matter in the brain. Although they suffered from emotional or psychological problems, their brains were structurally normal. Sometimes, as in the case of schizophrenic and manic patients, the intention was to cause a traumatic brain injury. A very common effect of lobotomy was something that one might call inertia, a condition also observed in head trauma. Inertia is when a patient becomes extremely docile and almost catatonic. In some noisy and turbulent patients such as the protagonist of Someone flew over the cuckoo's nest, Inducing a head injury to create a passive, docile state was the desired goal, in order to make those patients calmer and more manageable.
Of the approximately 50,000 lobotomies performed in the United States, the first was performed in 1946 on a 29-year-old housewife by Dr Walter Freeman. Dr Freeman was an egomaniac. who thought he was God and who acted with bravado and without regard for the consequences of his practices. It is not never been certified as a surgeon, and so it is probably not surprising that he acted on instinct and intuition rather than basing his actions on rigorous research or study. Because Freeman performed many lobotomies, there was little follow-up with patients, nothing that could be called a scientific study. Claims about the effectiveness of the practice were based on anecdotes. Failures were evident, with people dying during or soon after the procedure. 490 of Freeman's patients fell into that category, 10%. A woman with cancer of the jaw was given a lobotomy to reduce her pain. After the lobotomy she was incontinent and apathetic, barely able to speak, and needed round-the-clock care, but her case was considered a success.
Nearly a century has passed since Freeman's first surgical interventions, and yet scientific rigour is equally absent when we look at hormone-altering treatments. In a review carried out in April 2021, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence of the United Kingdom stated that Existing studies on so-called puberty-blocking drugs were scarce, poorly designed, subject to bias and confusion, lacked control groups, produced very little data and it was difficult to draw conclusions from this. They found similar problems with studies on the use of cross-sex hormones, believing that the evidence of clinical efficacy and safety was of very low quality. They noted that these drugs have safety profiles that are largely unknown in the long term. A 2016 systematic review in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment found that the use of cross-sex hormones does not improve many aspects of mental health, including depression, global psychopathology and psychosocial functioning, although it does appear to benefit patients with reduced body discomfort.
In 2019, the JVI Research Institute published another systematic review of studies on the use of cross-sex hormones, finding that although patients were getting better quality of life scores in some areas, serious research was lacking. And as the results on improved quality of life, depression and anxiety from taking hormones ranged from very low to low, the treatment could not be recommended. How can drugs be administered when studies have not shown them to be safe and effective? The answer is that doctors are giving them off-label, which allows them to prescribe them to patients without the hassle of FDA approval. These drugs are on the market because they have previously been studied and shown to be safe and effective in a certain population and at a certain dosage for certain diseases, but now doctors are prescribing them for populations and diseases for which they have never been studied or approved. Safety and efficacy remain big question marks.
In the early part of the 20th century there was an explosion of diagnoses of mental problems and hospital admissions. Between 1903 and 1933 the number of American psychiatric hospitals more than doubled. in size and by mid-century over half a million Americans were hospitalized. To live in an American asylum at that time was to suffer tremendously. In the era before psychopharmacology lobotomies brought hope that patients would recover sufficiently to be able to return home and possibly to a normal life. Many families were also concerned about their loved one's suicidal tendencies. This created an urgency that led to overlooking the lack of research data and the real possibility of death or paralysis following lobotomy. Something very similar is happening today with the explosion in the number of people complaining of extreme hardship. in a given area. A study on the Journal of Interpersonal Violence notes that 86% of so-called young transgender people report feeling suicidal tendencies and 56% have attempted suicide. So it is understandable that parents are desperate to act quickly with any treatment for their child, including those that are not backed by evidence of efficacy or safety. The same study showed that the main cause of those depressive feelings was often bullying at school. But it is not the bullying that is addressed and cured, instead the child's physiology is intervened in. It should also be noted here that suicide threats are sometimes genuine, but are also a classic manipulation technique. The research is not detailed enough to be able to distinguish real suicidal tendencies from fictions for the purpose of manipulation.
In the case of both lobotomy and gender-based treatments, a thorough examination would shed light on questionable practices, but control is markedly absent. Of course, it should not come from doctors eager to experiment, nor from desperate patients or their families. Control should be exercised by the media, but unfortunately this does not happen. In 1937, Dr Freeman and colleagues presented lobotomised chimpanzees at a conference of theAmerican Medical Association. Adult chimpanzees are extraordinarily strong and normally aggressive towards humans, but the ones Freeman brought to the conference were docile, friendly and could even be petted. Later, the New York Times published an enthusiastic article on its front page. Despite a number of sceptics, the great potential of lobotomies was touted, calling them surgery of the soul and stating that the 65% of those treated was moderately to much improved. Sixteen different disorders treatable by lobotomy were listed. Certainly an exciting prospect for readers. In 1942, the New York Times wrote a review of Freeman's book Psycho Surgery, claiming that it was more exciting than most novels. And why not? Probing into the brain, seeing out-of-control minds return to more normal ways of thinking? No novelist has ever dealt with a more exciting subject. Freeman's success rates and practical, realistic approach are highlighted. Freeman relied on these press praise to prepare opinion in favour of the effectiveness of lobotomyincluding his colleagues and the public. But while that eulogy New York Times for human experimentation could be justified as a naive hope, the Times today is nothing short of a manipulative machine and publishes many articles celebrating every aspect of trans ideology. Sometimes the support is more subtle and insidious.
In January the New York Times reported on a Arkansas bill which would prevent doctors from prescribing drugs that alter the hormonal system of healthy children. L'article is full of hyperbolic quotes of trans adolescents and families. The Times mentions a teenager. "It's like my life has been erased. If the law came into force, it would really be the death of Sabrina. I wouldn't be able to live and be myself." Another teenager: 'We're just kids trying to live our lives'. And one parent added: "It's pretty heartbreaking to be told by the state that it's going to be illegal to give your child what they need to exist." The article repeatedly mentions children's suicidal thoughts or actions following the mere news of the bill, but barely reports the purpose of the bill, safeguarding children from being experimented on with hormone treatments known to cause permanent infertility and loss of bone density. Instead of doing balanced journalism, the media have become a powerful mouthpiece used exclusively by one side of the debate.
6. SCEPTICS IGNORED
Today we know what happens to people who speak out and try to question gender, ideology and related medical treatment, including the use of cross sex hormones and various surgeries. Sceptics are silenced, removed from academic positions, branded transphobic, ostracised and deplatformed. even for asking questions. Politicians who propose legislation to protect children from experimentation are considered hateful. When the media report on trans medicine, the voices of sceptics are downplayed and included as side thoughts.
When J.K. Rowling tweeted her concern was accused by the popular and social media of being transphobic, even though her tweet was simply voicing the very reasonable concerns of professor Carl Hennigan of Oxford, who stated that due to the paucity of evidence, the off-label use of drugs for the treatment of dysphoria largely represents a unregulated live experiment on children. There were certainly sceptics, but they eventually became irrelevant. In the 1930s, Walter Freeman worked at St Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, DC, an asylum full of potential subjects for his experiments. William White, the hospital's superintendent, called lobotomy a spurious and irresponsible treatment and told Freeman he would have to wait a long time before he could operate on any of his patients. But after White's death in 1937, Freeman was given carte blanche to lobotomise the population of St Elizabeth's, which he did. Later Freeman met sscepticism in Germany, where doctors were wary of anything resembling human experimentation. done during the Second World War. They knew that a lobotomy was, in effect, an induced traumatic brain injury that violated the Nuremberg Code of Medical Ethics 1947. The Nuremberg Code requires, among other things, the explicit voluntary consent of patients for experimentation. But wherever he encountered sceptics Freeman shook off the ethical concerns and lack of scientificity and continued to operate.
The lack of patient consent is yet another analogy between lobotomies and today's transgender treatments. Many lobotomised patients were unable to give consent because of the nature of their mental illness. Some had been involuntarily hospitalised or had disorders such as schizophrenia that made their consent dubious at best. But consent as a legal concept in the 1940s and 1950s was not as important as it is today. So some of Dr Freeman's patients were not even told what the procedure would entail, nor were they informed of the risks. A major problem with consent in trans medicine today concerns the treatment of minors.. La World's Professional Association for Transgender Health Path provides guidelines doctors to start treatments on children. Over the years, Wpath has lowered the recommended age for starting treatments. Their current recommendation is 14 years for starting hormone therapy, 15 years for double mastectomy and 17 years for genital surgery. The fact that children should be legally able to consent to medical treatment varies by state and in some cases depends on the type of treatment. For example, in Connecticut there is no minimum age for a child to consent to treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, drug abuse or mental health. But even if the law allows children to give consent, medical ethics remain questionable. The cross-sex hormones and puberty blockers have some already known effects, such as loss of bone density and infertility. But because of the lack of long-term data, many unknowns remain.
So how can children give their consent? They do not have the capacity to make decisions like adults and cannot assess the risk of long-term consequences, tending to favour instant gratification. This is why we do not allow them to smoke cigarettes or get tattoos, and why in so many areas parental permission is required.
8. RANDOM ADMINISTRATION
Patients may not realise how much trouble they are in, partly because the treatments are distributed in an incredibly random manner. Last year, the journalist Abigail Schrier talked about the casual way in which testosterone is administered by Planned Parenthood, one of the largest providers of testosterone for young women. She tells of girls turning up in groups of friends, giggling while waiting for their testosterone and signing informed consent documents without reading them. She notes that they are never refused or referred to psychological counselling rather than to a doctor. These patients meet a gender counsellor who has no previous medical experience, specific training or professional credentials. In this casual environment, it is not surprising that patients do not understand the seriousness of what they are undertaking. It was much the same with lobotomies, and although lobotomy is definitely brain surgery Walter Freeman and colleagues saw it as a simple outpatient procedure. As mentioned earlier, Freeman did not specialise in surgery, but he believed that hammering an ice pick into someone's brain was only a minor neurological adjustment. He performed lobotomies in his surgery, not in a hospital, and did not follow sterile protocols. Lobotomies often took only a couple of minutes. The whole operation took about 15 minutes. But the results were often not minor but extreme.
9. DEVASTATING CONSEQUENCES
One of the thousands of tragic stories of lobotomies gone wrong is that of Rosemary Kennedy. Rosemary was rather rebelliousShe had learning difficulties caused by brain damage suffered during birth and became a lively but sometimes turbulent young woman. Her father turned to Walter Freeman for help. cure Rosemary's weirdness. She was administered a lobotomy which has impaired her ability to speak, left her partially paralysed, incontinent. She had to relearn how to walk, brush her teeth and dress herself. Ashamed by the horror he had perpetrated on her, her father had her sent to a nursing home where she lived in isolation for the rest of her life. Rosemary's story was by no means unique in the world of lobotomies. Many patients died during the operation. Fatal cerebral haemorrhage was common. Infections, incontinence, paralysis, convulsions and catatonia were also common. Not pleasant results, too bad they were permanent. There was no way back.
Today we see similar irreversible damage in trans-medical patients. Some professionals claim that the effects of the treatments are reversible, but these claims are doubtful because although the benefits of hormone treatment have not been well studied, complications are already known in women and include risks of infertility and coagulation problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, weight gain, sleep apnoea and vaginal atrophy. Women who undergo hysterectomy have an increased risk of coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, some cancers, depression and dementia. Women who undergo the surgery known as phalloplasty have to deal with extensive scarring that often requires therapy, can end up with blocked urethra, fistulas or complete death of the transplanted tissue. These are not minor complications and the patient can never return to the healthy body he or she used to have.. In men, the risks of hormone disruption include so-called chemical castration, testicular atrophy, loss of libido, erectile dysfunction and infertility. But also blood clots, high cholesterol, weight gain, hypertension, diabetes, stroke and breast cancer. These are life-altering conditions, not just side effects. In men undergoing genital surgery, complications occur in 20-70%, according to a 2021 study in the journal Andrology. Including infection, tissue necrosis, urethral injury, wound complications, excessive bleeding and clots. Some complications require further surgery, but no surgery can restore the body to its previous state of health. What is done cannot be undone.
VICTIMISATION OF MINORITIES
Most lobotomy patients, 60%, were women. The lobotomy was seen as a remedy for the stubborn and turbulent personality traits, considered unacceptable in women. Another group targeted were the homosexuals. Homosexuality used to be considered a mental disorder. from theAmerican Psychiatric Association until 1973. Homosexual behaviour was considered deviant and the inertia that resulted from many lobotomies diminished interest in sex.
Today we see something similar happening with the same demographic groups. Children who are gender non-conforming are directed to a path of medicalisation. instead of saying that a girl can be anything, do anything, The gender industry says that if she likes boy things, she is actually a boy and needs these drugs and surgeries so that her body can take on male physical characteristics. I'm mentioning girls in particular here because, like with lobotomies, females make up the majority of these patients. In the UK, reports of sex changes in under-18s have increased from 77 in 2009 to 2590 in 2018-19. E the 70% were women. And many of these girls would become lesbianswhich is increasingly seen as a a shameful and transphobic identity. In other words, thehomophobia is rampant once again and homosexuality is seen as something that needs to be treated medically.
If we open our minds and a history book we can learn from the past and see patterns that will result in widespread tragedy. If we study history intelligently we can prevent much suffering. I charlatans of the past committed serious crimes against the most vulnerable, resorting to sci-fi delusions to justify deliberate harm on the desperate. Unwilling patients, often from minorities, were subjected to the devastating outcomes of randomly administered procedures.
All these shameful features of lobotomy can be found in trans medicine today.. Hormone treatments and surgery are labelled as health care, just as lobotomies were. And if you are sceptical, if you ask questions like: shouldn't we follow a scientific method before prescribing off-label drugs of unknown efficacy to large numbers of people? Or: can children understand the long-term implication of these treatments? Can they really make decisions at 14 about their fertility and expose themselves to long-term health risks? Isn't sterilising large numbers of gay and gender non-conforming children a form of eugenics? If you ask questions you are labelled as a bigot or transphobe who wants to deny people access to the care they need. But is it not more caring, more compassionate not to want people to be subjected to experiments, to want to avoid another widespread tragedy such as lobotomies? We have the advantage of hindsight and we must use it. One thing we can do is listening to sceptics, informants and detrans, those who have already been hurt by this system and are willing to tell their stories.
"Supporting trans people" means channelling them into a medical system that does not have their best interests at heart. I suggest a different approach to supporting this vulnerable population, which is to look at the system with a critical eye and reorient it to minimise damage.